What’s in your Deck?

I have often been plagued with feelings of not measuring up…in so many areas of life.  Mostly, it was in my looks as a teenager… and lack of friends… and lack of pop culture knowledge.  Later it was in my finances… and ability to be a wife… and how good of an example of Christ I was…. But the most painfully obvious one at present, is parenting.  I tend to feel like I must be failing as a parent as I see my kids having the same issues over and over and over.  And my response is far from perfect most of the time.  Sometimes, I’ll have bright moments where I feel like I am walking in obedience, and if I fail, God’s grace covers it and it’ll all work out in the end.  Then typically, I’ll hear another mom or dad talk about their kids and what they’re doing in the training process, or they’ll give me a piece of their experienced mind (in a sincere intention of love) that ends up making me feel like my parenting is… less than it should be.  And that perhaps they are looking at my kids and wondering if Mike and I are really doing what we should be doing.  And that if they were raising my kids, they would probably have better behaved children.  Usually, I don’t think these things in full thoughts, but just general impressions that make me want to get out of the situation, hide away from the world and try to bring things up to everyone else’s (or at least everyone that I respect) perceived expectations and then on that illusive day when everything is perfect… then we can show our faces to those people again.  But I don’t actually act on those feelings.  I just…want to.

I recently was faced with something that made me realize we don’t, and shouldn’t – I mean really shouldn’t, not just theoretically shouldn’t- try to raise our kids to someone else’s standards, or expectations, or hopes, or beliefs.  God did not give our kids to anyone but us.  Yeah, I’ve had that thought multiple times, but it hasn’t helped me feel any better about things.  But here’s the reality: our kids need us to raise them the way God is leading us for them.  If we were to raise our kids to a stricter, or looser standard because of the way He may be directing someone else to train up their kids… it could potentially damage our own kids, and the specific destiny He has purposed for them!

So here’s the picture I got.  It really helped me to see things differently.  I don’t know if it’ll make sense for you, but it is helping me derail my comparison mentality.

Each person is dealt a different hand of cards.  You may be playing the same game, but you weren’t dealt the same hand.  Each hand must, by nature of the cards, be uniquely different.  And to win the game, you must work with the hand you have.  If you are dealt cards that lend themselves to be a Full House, you could lose out on a great Full House if you try to rip it apart to try to build a Large Straight.  If your hand is nearly a Straight, you would be foolish to look at your neighbor’s confidence in their Full House, and split apart your hand to play a meager Full House.  You cannot try to play your hand like someone else’s hand.  If you do, you will lose.  You must play your hand to the best advantage of what you were dealt.  Play it right, and you win.

Alright, so a very simplified explanation of parenting, but it made sense to me.  And suddenly, it’s ok if I choose to do something that’s very different from those people I most respect.  If I know we are obeying God to our best knowledge (after all, I will be giving account to Him for my actions anyway, and telling Him that I trained my kids like So-And-So was training hers isn’t going to be a very strong answer), then it doesn’t matter if it “measures up” to what they are doing.  I’m not playing their hand.  I’m playing mine.

How are you playing your hand?


4 Responses to “What’s in your Deck?”

  1. I’m having a hard time playing with mine. I wanna take all the risk and gamble everything but when i think about my daughter it made me think twice.

  2. charleecat Says:

    It’s hard to take a big risk and step out of the comfort of the norm that your social sphere surrpunds you with. But as long as you know in your heart that you are obeying God the best you can, the risk lies in His hands, not yours. She is His kid first, anyway. It is in your stewardship to shepherd her according to His direction, and up to Him to be giving the right direction. Takes a leap of faith, doesn’t it? I think God must like a good adventure!

  3. Hm … good thoughts. I think you’re an awesome mom and are doing an incredible job with your kids! I totally respect you.

  4. Charlotte, you are a wonderful Mommy! Your heart is soft and tender… exactly where God wants you to be! I frequently look to you for wisdom and counsel… thank you!

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